Soft baits, small plastic fish enticers that resemble minnows, grubs, worms and frogs are very popular for fishermen, and for good reason. One is the cost. You can buy a dozen night crawlers at a bait shop for around $4, but you have to keep buying them over and over, or you can buy a soft bait worm or action tail grub for around the same price, and use it for three to five years. And if you use something like blood worms, the savings are even more.
Soft baits come in many different styles. In general, there are worm styles and crawl styles, imitation grubs, and minnow replicants. One thing to note is that fish, for some reason or other, prefer different styles, and varying colors depending on the season, the clearness of the water, and other factors.
For this reason, a darker colored imitation worm may not work as well when the water is fairly clear than when it’s murky. Similarly, just because fish are in a feeding mode, doesn’t mean that they necessarily want larger bait. An imitation grub may get more action that an 8-inch worm. This is one of the biggest mistakes that fishermen regularly make.
At other times, fish, particularly bass, maybe on the lookout for tadpole shapes, and that will be your best bet. You really have to test it out and discover for yourself which bait form is work. Most people like to troll a worm through weeds and bushes, and every 10 seconds or so, give the rod a little jerking action. This will suddenly cause the plastic worm or bait to rise from the bottom and hop up around three feet. Most fish strikes will appear with soft bait using this jerking action and expect the strike to happen after the bait suddenly rises at its apex, or shortly after it starts drifting gently down to the bottom.
Another factor at play is the larger the worm-like structure of the bait, the more movement it will have in the water. Strangely, sometimes fish seem to love a long, dangly worm, while at other times, they much prefer one that has only gentle action. There are really no guarantees with fishing at all, so you have to experiment to see which works best on which particular day.
One thing is clear, however, and that’s that generally, fish prefer soft bait over lures. The feel of a soft bait lure seems to be much more natural when it sits in the mouth of a fish and some companies actually scent their bait to further attract fish. Are soft baits the ultimate solution? The answer is no. Sometimes there is not enough action in a soft bait to excite fish, particularly larger game fish. So don’t through your old hard lures out as you fill up your tackle box with soft worms and grubs.
Use a mix of both when you want to maximize your fishing results.